Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development Cao Duc Phat has asked authorities in the central and southern regions to evacuate locals to safe grounds and ban vessels from going to sea on December 11, as typhoon Hagupit is likely to land in the southern central area on the night of the same day.

The fifth tropical storm in the East Sea this year is changing course to southwest, the National Centre for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting said, predicting that after making landfall on the south central region, from Binh Thuan to Khanh Hoa, Hagupit will weaken into a tropical low pressure area in the mainland.

At an emergency meeting with the Central Committee for Flood and Storm Control on December 10, Phat, who is also its head, emphasised that many fishing boats are still at sea and urged relevant agencies to promptly notify fishermen about the storm’s course and immediately seek shelter.

Localities should alert tourists, especially those at beaches and on islands, to the upcoming storm and evacuate them to safety, he said.

He also requested Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan provinces, which are most likely to be hit by the storm, to move residents, particularly the elderly and children, to safe areas by noon December 11 at the latest.

The committee informed that the Navy will put 10 ships on standby for search and rescue missions in areas around Truong Sa archipelago and DK1 platform.

According to the Sai Gon Giai phong newspaper, Vienam Airlines will stop its flights from Hanoi to Nha Trang in the central province of Khanh Hoa and adjust the schedule for services between Ho Chi Minh City and Nha Trang and Da Lat in the Central Highland.

Hagupit swept across the Philippines on December 6 evening, claiming at least 27 lives.-VNA